Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical and Materials Engineering


Jun, Yang


There has been a surge in interest of 3D printing technology in the recent 5 years with respect to the equipment and materials, because this technology allows one to create sophisticated and customized parts in a manner that is more efficient regarding both material and time consumption. However, 3D printing has not yet become a mainstream technology within the established manufacturing routes. One primary factor accounting for this slow progress is the lack of a broad variety of 3D printable materials, resulting in limited functions of 3D printed parts.

To bridge this gap, I present an integrated strategy to fabricate a variety of functional materials/devices through the post-printing surface modification and target-motivated structural topology. A reusable 3D printed filter was first demonstrated to remove metal ions from water. This filter was functionalized with a layer of bio-adsorbent grown on its surface using post-printing modification, and the capacity was improved through structural optimization. To further improve the working efficiency, a customized 3D all-in-one printable material system was employed, which uses only one 3D printing material, but can realize various functionalities through a post-printing process. This material system is applicable for all types of photo-polymerization based 3D printing routes, including DLP, SLA, polyjet and other emerging technologies. It has significantly extended the capacity of current 3D printing technology. The 3D printed structures were converted into useful devices with new functions or new structural metamaterials with novel properties, that are attributed to both their materials composition and structural design. For example, we have showcased the magnetically manipulated robot, strength-enhanced lattice materials with high effective strength, ultralight metal materials and mechanical-metamaterials.

In this thesis, a new generation of initiator-integrated material system was also developed. Beyond being able to successfully 3D print functional devices/materials with desirable properties, I also demonstrated that this initiator-laden material can be utilized to locally repair the surface damage, allowing a self-healing ability.

In general, the developed 3D printing process that incorporates surface modification and structural topology enables a new class of functional devices/materials to be produced, and opens a door for further research and development of an increasing variety of 3D printing applications. Through the work presented in this dissertation, I substantially build upon and further establish the strategy and material system for 3D printing functional devices/materials, keeping in mind components, design, engineering and application.